An equipment failure at a Met-Ed substation caused 10,000 customers to lose power during a four-hour outage Tuesday afternoon.
Businesses and homes in York, North York and areas east and west of the city first reported a loss of electricity about 12:30 p.m. Two hours later, power had been restored to more than half of the affected consumers, and by 4:30 p.m. electricity had been restored to all customers.
The loss affected city businesses, county offices, schools, grocery stores, traffic lights, other utility providers and a couple celebrating more than six decades of marriage.
Anniversary outage: When Ralph Hess reached across the fried oysters at Central Family Restaurant and told his wife, "It's getting hot in here," he meant it - literally. The couple, celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary Tuesday, were among a handful of diners eating in the dark at the restaurant.
While the temperature was climbing, owner Karl Spangler said discomfort from the heat was the only thing dissuading customers, as cooking continued as normal on gas stoves.
The Hesses, of York Township, said they didn't mind the dark.
"The food was good," said Phyllis Hess, Ralph's wife. "I said, 'We need to light a candle in here.'"
North George outages: While Central had no electricity, outages seemed sporadic up and down George Street. Just south of Central Family, Insurance Services United, at 224 N. George St., had never lost power. Le Casa de Tapas and Lotus Moon Yoga, both on North George Street, were also unaffected.
But north of Central Family, at 3rd Base beverage mart, owner Stanley Kakazitis said he lost electricity shortly after noon and was concerned about a food delivery that pulled in shortly after 1 p.m.
"The beer is cold. I can go seven or eight hours on beer," he said of his cooler efficiency. "I'm more worried about the food in the freezer."
Power was restored to both 3rd Base and Central Family about 2:30 p.m. and, while business was slow for a while, owners said there were no major food losses.
Effect on businesses: Other places in the city that lost electricity included York Towne House, a residential building near Sovereign Bank Stadium on North Duke Street; Yorktown Mall, which is anchored by Family Dollar on North Duke Street; Central Market, Columbia Gas, Wellspan, county offices and Smith Middle School.
County spokesman Carl Lindquist said the county's downtown facilities lost power for about 20 minutes around lunchtime, but there was no significant impact on operations.
Power loss at Columbia Gas offices on North Hartley Street did not affect service or customer safety, according to spokesman Russell Bedell.
Service technicians used mobile phones and mobile data terminals, and customer calls always go through integration centers that are offsite, he said.
About 70 people work in the Columbia Gas city offices, and many of those employees spent the outage working from home, he said.
At Central Market, on an especially busy Tuesday, power was lost for about 10 minutes. Casi Babinchak, the market's chief operations officer, said she had flashbacks to the earthquake that rocked the East Coast last year.
"It was a little surprising to see the market like it is when it's closed - but full of people," she said.
A Giant Food Stores location in Delco Plaza was also among businesses that lost power during the Met-Ed outage.
Trucks carrying dry ice were called to the store to prevent food losses. Refrigerated cases were covered, and temperatures were constantly monitored, said Chris Brand, company spokesman.
Frozen aisles were closed to customers in an effort to preserve the items, and the store didn't lose any product, he said.
"We're still in good shape," Brand said.
- Staff writers Erin James and Andrew Shaw contributed to this report. Reach Candy Woodall at 505-5437 or cwoodall@york dispatch.com. Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.